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Column: Water worries

Since I often worry about things when no one else does, I wonder how many people worry about water. Maybe locally, not so many, but certainly for residents of California, as well as their neighbors, water is a subject they cannot ignore.

Column: Vinous Ruminations -- Pairing French wines with everyday foods

Inevitably, when wine is the subject, the country of France must be discussed. France has long led the way when wines of the highest caliber are to be debated and tasted. A myriad of styles and flavors that bring out the very best in a complex cuisine are the hallmark of the very best French wines.

Column: Can’t they just leave the Common Application alone?

In early August, the 2015-16 Common Application will come online. Once again we will have to adapt to the program’s changes, many of which do make the program easier to navigate.

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Theater review: Solid vocals carry the day in Elton John/Tim Rice musical at CNY Playhouse

Actress Cathy Butler sings like an archangel. In the title role of Aida, a Nubian princess pressed into slavery in ancient Egypt, the Le Moyne College senior lends her sweet voice to such Act 1 numbers as the mellow “The Past is Another Land” and the rousing “The Gods Love Nubia.”

Column: Not the new, but the old, math

If I am sometimes obsessed by numbers, it is because when it comes to math, I just don't get it. Perhaps this "innumeracy" can be attributed to an early childhood trauma when the little boy next door, and the object of my tender affections, confronted me with "I know something you don't know: one and one is two."

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FROM THE ASSEMBLY: Join the effort to revitalize Central New York

The hunt is on for the biggest and brightest ideas to revitalize Central New York’s economy. The deadline for the public to submit ideas that could help our region secure vital economic development funding is fast approaching, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of this exciting opportunity to get involved in the future of our community.

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From the state senate: Legislation to ensure equal access, participation in New York

As we mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about two important bills that would help to empower individuals with certain disabilities. Both of these bills that I sponsored passed the state senate and state assembly during the 2015 legislative session and await the governor’s consideration. I hope you will join me in urging Gov. Cuomo to sign these bills into state law.

Column: Past present: A tour of the Sterling Renaissance Festival

Nestled in the hills of Sterling in a most unlikely grove, from early July through mid August, the past comes alive at the Sterling Renaissance Festival.

Column: Mistake made by the College Board on June 6 SAT

I’d like to clear up the confusion about last month’s SAT exam. The College Board has admitted to an error in the last section of the exam, a section that was on all versions of the test administered on June 6.

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FROM THE ASSEMBLY: Donate blood at the ninth annual Lifesavers Blood Drive

I hope you’ll consider joining me in helping to save lives this summer at the ninth annual Lifesavers Blood Drive. The event will be held from noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21, at Driver’s Village at 5885 E. Circle Drive in Cicero.

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New York State Senate kicks off summer reading program

Summer reading is a great way to keep children academically sharp for the new school year. It can also be a fun and rewarding activity. That is why I am once again sponsoring the New York State Senate Summer Reading Program to encourage summer learning. The New York State Senate, in partnership with the New York State Library, offers this convenient online program, so families may enjoy the rewards of reading together.

Column: Here come the hops — again!

This column seems to be one about ancient knowledge. Two generations ago, everyone around Central New York knew about hops. Before long, I suspect, this will again be true.

The Book Beat: Page-to-screen

Have you seen a good book? Hollywood is always looking for the next hit and frequently turns to books. Adaptations to screen aren’t always successful, but they invariably generate interest in the source material. It may be difficult to decide whether to read the book before or after seeing the movie — there’s pros and cons either way — but that’s for you to decide. Here are some recent and soon-to-be released books to movies.

Beauty Lost and Found

Beauty has lost its shine, or so it would seem. While I don't have a particularly artistic nature, I have a deep appreciation and actual need for beauty. I crave beauty -- in art, music, fashion, nature and spirit. Would it be boring to be surrounded by beauty everywhere and all the time? Probably, but also, it would be nice not to have to look so hard to find it.

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Volunteer of the Month July 2015 Shana Fleischman – JOBSplus!

JOBSplus! is an Employment Program with Onondaga Community College in partnership with the Onondaga County Department of Social Services. JOBSplus! offers coursework and counseling to help job seekers get jobs and keep them. This is the sixth summer JOBSplus! will run its Summer Refugee Program which requires lots of volunteer tutors, and Shana Fleischman is one of them.

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